1960s sitcom set at camp — THURSDAY, Dec. 31 2009 — Parris Isl outfit / Hoops coach Kruger / Pachacuti's people / DC diamond squad
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Constructor: Frank Longo
Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)
THEME: THREE LITTLE PIGS (60A: Storybook group) — rebus in which three pig types (BOAR, SOW, HOG) are each made "little" and squeezed into a single square
Word of the Day: UGSOME (15A: Dreadful, old-style) — adj.
[Middle English : uggen, to fear (from Old Norse ugga , from uggr, fear) + -some, characterized by; see -some.]
As rebuses go, this one felt awfully straightforward. Just three squares involved, and then a theme-revealer that (assuming you've cracked the rebus) is instantly gettable. That's what was weirdest about my solving experience — I sailed with relative ease through the north but was getting destroyed by the south when I realized, after much floundering, that I hadn't even bothered to look at that last theme answer (the revealer). THREE LITTLE PIGS went right in and then, magically, the south went down just as easily as the north had. Because there was some serious stuck time sandwiched in the middle of the easiness, and because rebuses generally take people longer than straight puzzles, I thought this merited at least a "Medium" difficulty rating.
UGSOME is not a word you really want in your puzzle (15A: Dreadful, old-style). Especially in the top-center. Too easy for critics to use it as a descriptor for the puzzle as a whole.
- 17A: Person making firm decisions (Chairman of the [BOAR]d)
- 12D: Detroit venue for sporting evengts and concerts (Co [BOAR] ena) — this is where I first realized something was up, rebus-wise. "This should be COBO ... or JOE LOUIS ... why won't they fit?"
- 22A: "Different strokes for different folks" ("To each hi [SOW] n")
- 25D: "Big deal" ("[SOW] hat?")
- 55A: 1960s sitcom set at a camp ("[HOG] an's Heroes")
- 37D: Thick-shelled seafood selection (qua [HOG]) — real trouble with that (I thought) 4-letter "Q" word...
Again I had name problems today. Though the pirate was RENÉ (it was JEAN, 47A: Pirate Lafitte); don't know the Marilyn MONROE movie in question (67A: "Niagara" star, 1953); never heard of SARA Ramirez (38D: Tony-winning "Spamalot" actress Ramirez); never heard of this LEN person (44D: "Live Free or Die Hard" director Wiseman). Weirdly, I knew LON without knowing how/why (61D: Hoops coach Kruger), and I knew SASHA Vujacic despite his not being even among the top four names on the Lakers roster (29A: Vujacic of the Los Angeles Lakers, who's nicknamed "The Machine"). ASHTON was a gimme (51D: "Punk'd" host Kutcher). I learned his name via "That 70's Show." Now he's famous for being famous.
- 5A: Vice president after Breckinridge (Hamlin) — more name trouble. Couldn't remember good ol' Hannibal here. Meanwhile, "Breckinridge" makes the clues for the second day in a row.
- 35A: Salute in stanzas (ode) — I'm trying imagine Keats saluting the urn. Not really working.
- 54A: Parris Isl. outfit (USMC) — no idea what "Parris Isl." is. I assume it's an island. Like Paradise Island or Fantasy Island. Only with Marines.
- 70A: Pachacuti's people (Incans) — hmm, what's the difference between an INCAN and an INCA? Or INCANS and INCA, for that matter? Looking at prior clues, the answer appears to be "nothing."
- 4D: Green crops cultivated for fodder (soilage) — I thought this was SILAGE. Answers.com tells me that SILAGE means "Fodder prepared by storing and fermenting green forage plants in a silo." One letter off and both relate to "fodder?" Come on, farmers. I call "Unnecessary wordage" on you.
- 5D: Snorts of disdain (humphs) — often heard in response to things UGSOME.
- 26D: D.C. diamond squad (Nats) — this team is a boon to the world of crosswords, if not to the sport of baseball.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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